May 19, Colombo: As second rounds of talks between the Sri Lankan and Indian fishermen ended in deadlock, Sri Lanka's Fisheries Minister issued a warning to take the fishing issue to international forums if India exploits island's fishery resources.
Sri Lankan Minister of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Dr. Rajitha Senaratne has cautioned against anyone "exploiting" its fisheries resources saying it could take the matter to international forums, the Press Trust of India reported.
"If anyone tried to exploit Sri Lanka's fishing resources, we will resort to international mechanisms available to tackle the issue," PTI quoted the Minister as saying.
However, the Minister expressed hope that change of government in India will not seriously alter its foreign policy.
Senaratne noted that the incoming PM Narendra Modi has lost in the southern states of Kerala and Tamil Nadu.
He said the things which can change with the new government are the management-style and the time spent in making decisions and if the new PM decides to win over the lost states, especially Tamil Nadu led by Chief Minister Jayalalithaa, then the same policy on the fishing industry will continue.
The second round of discussions held in Colombo on May 12 between the representatives of Sri Lankan and Indian fishermen ended without reaching any agreements as the Sri Lankan side steadfastly rejected requests from Indian side to allow them to fish in Sri Lankan waters and strongly opposed the bottom trawling by the Indian fishermen.
Sri Lankan fishermen have steadfastly rejected requests from Indian side to allow them to fish in Sri Lankan waters and strongly opposed the bottom trawling by the Indian fishermen.
A high-powered joint ministerial committee of Sri Lanka and India is expected to meet next month to discuss and reach a permanent solution to the nagging issue.
The joint committee has been appointed as a result of the talks held between Fisheries Minister Rajitha Senaratne and his Indian counterpart Sharad Pawar in January this year in New Delhi.